The GNPS Plant of the Year (POY) program recognizes native plants that are of benefit to Georgia’s ecology and wildlife. If you are a GNPS member and have a native plant that you think is outstanding, please consider nominating it for POY 2022. Besides beauty, some characteristics to consider are adaptability, seasonal interest, fragrance, wildlife sustentation, and ease of propagation.

Members can only nominate one plant, and only current GNPS members can submit nominations. You can check your membership status by logging into your account at (upper right corner of page), and clicking on “Manage Membership” in the Member Portal. The dropdown option to “Renew or view my membership” will allow you to check membership status and go on to renew, if necessary.

POY 2022 nominations will open at 7 p.m. sharp on October 11, 2020.  Premature submissions will NOT be accepted. Submissions must include both the common and scientific (“Latin”) names for the nominee, as well a reason why it would make a great GNPS POY. A sentence will suffice, but feel free to elaborate as much as you’d like. We welcome information, especially regarding ecological significance or benefits to wildlife. Photos are encouraged, but not required.

Have those three items ready (common name, scientific name, and reason for nomination), and watch for the email that opens nominations at 7 p.m. on October 11th.  The email message will include a link to the nomination form, which will require login to the Member Portal, so make sure that your membership is current and that you know your login credentials. (If you are already logged in with that browser, the link will take you directly to the nomination form.)

Members will be notified by email when submissions close.

All acceptable nominees must be:

  • Native to Georgia (you can type USDA after the plant name in a Google search to look up its native distribution);
  • Under-utilized in gardens and landscapes and/or vital to the GA ecology;
  • Adaptable enough to grow in most gardens;
  • NOT a previous GNPS Plant of the Year. Previous winners can be found on the on the table below, as well as on the GNPS website.

Nominations will proceed until six acceptable nominees have been selected. As always, the first six submissions received will be given preference. However, the POY committee can pass over a plant if it is too similar to a previous submission (i.e., in the same genus, or having too similar an appearance and growth habit), or if it is only marginally eligible.

POY 2022 voting dates will be announced later in October.


Previous GNPS Plants of the Year

Year Botanical Name Common Name
2021 Chionanthus virginicus Fringetree
2020 Pycnanthemum pycnanthemoides Southern mountainmint
2019 Lonicera sempervirens Coral honeysuckle
2018 Callicarpa americana American beautyberry
2017 Trillium cuneatum Sweet Betsy
2016 Spigelia marilandica Indian pink
2015 Symphyotrichum georgianum Georgia aster
2014 Aesculus pavia Red buckeye
2013 Sassafras albidum Sassafras
2012 Sanguinaria canadensis Bloodroot
2011 Viburnum acerifolium Mapleleaf viburnum
2010 Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed
2009 Quercus alba White oak
2008 Polystichum acrostichoides Christmas fern
2007 Itea virginica Virginia sweetspire
2006 Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower
2005 Amelanchier arborea Downy serviceberry
2004 Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood
2003 Tiarella cordifolia Foam flower
2002 Morella cerifera Wax myrtle
2001 Rhododendron canescens Piedmont azalea
2000 Hydrangea quercifolia Oakleaf hydrangea




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